Client Communication: How to Do It Right

Communication, they say, is the basis for any healthy relationship. Much like in romantic bonds, family relations, and our friendships, transparency and honesty are necessary for all parties involved to feel appreciated and to know each other’s expectations. It’s not much different with professional bonds, isn’t it? The clients that give you the most trouble are the ones that send you lengthy emails with zero useful feedback, the ones that bombard you with information you cannot use, and the ones that don’t know what they want. 

Whether you’re working as a solo freelancer or you’re a part of a larger agency, if your role involves any amount of client interaction, you know that misunderstandings can cause more headaches than any amount of actual work ever could. Implementing certain rules, sticking to specific habits in client communication, and setting boundaries are all very important ways in which you can ease those headaches and make sure that your collaborations are more effective.

Define the process

Some companies and freelancers still assume that every single one of their clients has the same idea of the services they provide. For example, the field of digital marketing is a vast one indeed, and if you haven’t specified which particular areas your expertise covers, you can expect your clients to either come to you with a slew of questions, or to assume that you do exactly what they need and want. In both situations, you’re already in a mess. 

First of all, make sure that every touchpoint of your communication entails clear information. Your website, for starters, should have a clear page explaining your services in full. When someone reaches out to you, before the collaboration even begins, you should make sure that they know exactly what you can do for them, and what your business doesn’t cover. That way, you’ll prevent many misunderstandings and you’ll be able to qualify client leads more efficiently than ever. 

Establish boundaries

We’ve all been there: a client sends you emails in the middle of the night, with no regard for your personal time off, expecting you to reply as soon as yesterday, and constantly in need of changes and alterations to your original service. Some clients are needy, others are borderline certifiable, but sometimes you cannot assess if they are a good match for your business until very late in the collaboration. 

In any scenario, setting those boundaries early on can help you manage those complicated relationships better. For starters, you can emphasize your work hours and when you’re available for communication via chat, phone, or email, and how long it typically takes you to respond. You should also let your clients know that when they need changes to your provided service or product, you have a process to stick to, and explain how long it takes. All of these details could be beneficial for letting your clients know how to get the information they want without disrupting your workflow. 

Embrace discovery

Especially when you’re in a creative industry, delivering something that will be in line with your clients’ expectations and needs can be tricky. Creative work is very individual, although based on expertise, and if you’re running a web design agency, for instance, you can often go through several stages of back-and-forth communication before you actually complete the work at hand, by no one’s fault in particular. Those interactions can still take away a chunk of your valuable time, and preventing that can be beneficial for you and your clients.

You can create and send out a customized web design client questionnaire as a part of your discovery process in an attempt to cover all of your bases and prevent all those changes early on. Of course, it’s always possible for your client to send the design back for tweaks, but you can at the very least prevent major, time-consuming changes that can affect your productivity. This is especially handy if your customers aren’t familiar with the industry and wouldn’t know what kind of details you need to begin with, so some guidance is essential.

Ask for feedback to improve 

Some clients like in-person meetings, some love Skype, while others enjoy the email correspondence that comes with clarity and transparency. In any scenario, you might not be perfectly compatible in terms of those preferences with each and every client, but you can find ways to accommodate their needs without disrupting your own process. A great way to avoid conflicts would be to ask your clients for feedback regarding your performance but also your communication and availability. 

Insights collected in that way could be helpful in defining your future relationships and in redefining expectations in your existing collaborations. In a similar manner, you should feel free to provide your own comments and feedback if you feel that your client should give you more space or that they aren’t available enough to the detriment of the project, causing missed deadlines and the like. Transparency in the form of regular feedback is a healthy way to let your client relationships blossom over time.

 

Although it takes time to evolve as a freelancer or even as a part of a team within an agency, you can certainly find ways to improve how you interact with clients. Take these tips into consideration, and you’ll be able to ensure long-lasting bonds and more satisfied clients down the line.

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How To Prepare For An International Business Conference

Entrepreneurs are still keen on networking events, even though we live in the digital age. There’s always good potential in attending an international business conference. You can meet new business associates, find a mentor and expand your network of contacts. 

However, there’s also the chance that attending such an event will be a total bust but it’s a risk you must be willing to make. That’s why preparing for attending such a conference is very important because you never know what might happen. With that in mind, here are a few ways how you can prepare for an international business conference. 

Do some research first

It’s always a good idea to research the location where the conference is taking place. Usually, international business conferences last for a couple of days but you won’t be spending the entire day at the conference, that’s for sure. Therefore, treat it like any other trip and research some sights worth visiting or some entertainment that will make your visit more enjoyable. 

Also, as soon as you find out what is the location and the duration of the event, get to know more about travel insurance options for that country. This helps you make the right financial plan beforehand and get yourself insured in advance.

Plan your trip thoroughly

In most cases, the conference hosts plan every detail, including accommodations for their attendees. However, oftentimes, you’re only invited to attend, nothing more. If that’s the case, you’ll have to do the preparations yourself. Here’s a list of tasks you should focus on.

  • Book a hotel or a motel room.
  • Book a flight to your destination.
  • Arrange for someone to pick you up at the airport.
  • Arrange transportation to the conference.
  • Confirm your attendance.
  • Pack everything you need.
  • Make sure your passport hasn’t expired.
  • Plan your trip back as well.

It might not be a long or a demanding trip but you have to make sure you’re adequately prepared nonetheless. 

Protect yourself

Every international trip is not without some risks. That’s why it’s very important to protect yourself properly. As an example, keep your passport with you at all times and your valuables under lock and key. 

Moreover, check in with the travel advisories to determine what kind of documentation, if any, you should bring along. Last but not least, bring more money with you in case some unforeseen circumstance rises up, such as your luggage being lost or something similar. 

Plan to make connections

As an entrepreneur, your mission is to get the most out of the business conference you’re attending. More often than not, that means making as many connections as you can. Therefore, bring along your business cards you can hand out to potential associates. Exchanging information with key people is essential at networking events. 

Also, prepare your speech or presentation well if you’re one of the public speakers at the conference. After all, you want to put your best face on and make a good impression on the crowd. In addition, not every lead is worth pursuing. Try to determine what will benefit you or your business and focus on making connections there. If you try to explore everything, you might miss out on a good opportunity. 

Get some rest when you arrive

Arriving at a foreign country for a business conference usually means two things; travel fatigue and jet lag. If you can avoid any appointments as soon as you arrive, do so and get some rest, beforehand. Don’t  hesitate from investing in good accommodations. 

After all, a good night’s rest is required to retain your focus and have a better perspective on things. You will need some time to adjust to the new environment, as well as the new culture, which is next to impossible to do if you’re not well-rested. 

 

Attending an international business conference is always a good idea for aspiring entrepreneurs. You can learn new things and meet new people who can help you out in some way or another. That’s why it’s important to have a game plan and prepare yourself for what lies ahead. 

Sustainable Decor & Technology for the Workplace

HR Tech 11-7
Image Source: pixabay.com

Sustainability has become the “in” thing in nearly every aspect of our lives — our new sustainable homes, energy efficient cars, and even our workplaces. Sure, the word can get a little cliche at times; it seems like you can’t really get away from the notion of being more sustainable. But even at its most inundating, the concept can actually provide a number of tangible benefits to our lives without a huge amount of effort.

In fact, there are about a hundred ways that being sustainable can actually make the office a bit of a better place to be. Some research indicates that a more sustainable, green office space helps employees feel less anxious or stressed and more productive. These good feelings can lead to better reviews, greater accomplishments, and less turnover.

If your office is working towards becoming more sustainable, congrats! Working towards that goal doesn’t always have to equate to spending a lot of money to completely reorganize everything. Rather, sustainability can come in any number of small ways that add up to some major benefits.

Decoration

Decorating around the office can certainly vary in scale. For example, adding plants around the office or opening up the blinds to allow for natural lighting can help people relax and feel more content in their workspace. Likewise, upcycling around the office can help reduce office waste and give your space a bit more of a personalized touch which can encourage employees to feel more invested in their workplace.

If you are upgrading your office space and wanting to make a more sustainable impact during the process, upcycling some goods can be a great way to do it. But eventually, you are going to need to buy some new things. Making your purchases count by getting products and furniture that is useful to employees and still sustainable or even LEED certified can help you meet your goals.

A higher LEED certification rating can come from much of the new office furniture purchases such as desks, chairs, computers, and lighting. Electrical products can be more energy efficient, while the furniture can be constructed of recycled materials. LEED certification points can make your office a more desirable place to work, a boon for retaining current employees and attracting quality new hires.

Maintenance

Replacing things within the office doesn’t have to be the only way to become a more sustainable space. Just keeping up on some of the regular office maintenance tasks can actually help your office waste less and reach its sustainability goals. Doing so can even safe the company quite a bit of money each year.

An example of this is taking the time to make sure all of the office plumbing is working at an optimal condition. Just like in a home, leaking pipes or damaged water heaters can quickly cost the company thousands of dollars and months of heartache in repairs. But fixing leaks and getting issues squared away quickly can make a difference. Even a dripping faucet can be a profound water waster, costing your company money and sustainability points in one fell swoop.

Your office can also keep up on other maintenance, upgrades, and repairs that will impact your ability to be sustainable and likely save money in the process. Examples are:

  • HVAC maintenance
  • Use laptops and turn things off at night
  • Install motion activated lighting
  • Install a smart thermostat
  • Consolidate printers
  • Upgrade to LEED appliances
  • Use water efficient landscape designs

People

Finally, the people component. Keeping up on important office maintenance and doing upgrades can go a long way in making your company more sustainable, but getting people on board is the final component. Once the other employees buy in, your workspace will be well on its way to a more sustainable outcome.

But how to do that?

One way to start is by allowing employees to contribute to sustainability goals. For instance, allow them to telework once a week, which will reduce their environmental impact from driving. It also reduces the use of lighting, power, and water in the office. Likewise, get employees to participate in company events that benefit sustainability goals, which can build a team mentality and improve working relations.

If your company hosts conferences or employees attend meetings regularly, perhaps it is time to rethink meeting sustainability. Are there ways to waste less, such as by requiring participants to bring their own coffee cups? Can meetings take place virtually rather than in person? All of these small things can really add up.

***

Sustainability in the office is a completely manageable thing in small steps. Sustainable decor and technology as well as keeping up on maintenance and repairs can make a big difference. Getting other people involved and on board with sustainability in the office is the final step to success! You can do it!

Healthy Communication in the Workplace

Image Source: Pexels

Communication is one of the foundational elements of a properly functioning workplace, and as an HR rep, you’re likely going to be at the heart of your office’s communication channels. Whether you’re discussing work-life balance, resolving interpersonal conflict, or training employees regarding company policies, communication is going to be a key to success.

Why Good Communication Matters

A company is a living organism, and as is the case with all living organisms, communication between its various members is essential. Whether a business functions within a single office, maintains several locations across a country, or is completely remote in nature, healthy communication, among other things, helps to:

  • Communicate company objectives and values.
  • Promote teamwork and collaboration.
  • Maintain healthy professional relationships.
  • Encourage work-life balance.
  • Resolve interpersonal conflict.

The list goes on and on. One way or another, healthy communication is involved in nearly every facet of a successful company, which is why HR professionals, in particular, should make it a priority to facilitate and promote proper communication within the workplace.

Tips for Good Communication

From general training to specific person-to-person interactions, here are a handful of the best ways you can facilitate good communication within your company.

Offer Training

Training is a useful tool that allows a large amount of information to be communicated to an entire group of people efficiently and effectively. You can promote communication within your workplace in multiple ways by utilizing training sessions and seminars.

For instance, you can establish clear boundaries and protocols in order to avoid blurred lines when it comes to things like personal and professional relationships within the workplace. All staff members should be clearly informed regarding topics like sexual harassment and how to communicate sexual consent with a work colleague. They should also be made well aware of how to report issues of misconduct to a superior.

Along with protocol like this, you can also use teaching scenarios to help communicate to employees the importance of finding work-life balance and maintaining their mental health while on the job.

Promote Resources

It’s also important for HR representatives to establish themselves as a central source of resources for those in need. For instance, it should be made clear that if an employee is struggling in their personal life, they can come to HR in order to find resources for counseling.

Another example of providing resources would be informing a victim of sexual assault where they can find a sexual assault nurse examiner. Even someone simply trying to maintain a healthy weight should be able to come to HR in order to find important health information.

If employees are continually empowered with resources that help them maintain their health and well-being, it will go a long way in helping to promote interactions and communication with an office as a whole.

Keep Lines of Communication Open

A good HR rep is going to keep their door open at all times. If you want to promote good communication, you want employees to feel that they can come to you whenever they have a need without the fear of being turned away or asked to wait. This kind of communication starts with a good open door policy, which helps promote trust and encourages those with a need to approach you confidently with an issue or concern.

In addition, make sure that you take the time to learn how to look for common signs of distress, even if someone isn’t consciously communicating something specifically with you. If, for instance, an employee is failing to relate their particular issue with you, you may be able to identify what they’re dealing with by looking for other signs.

Say, for instance, that an employee is struggling with the recent loss of a loved one or the fact that they’ve checked out of their marriage. You may be able to pick up on the signs that they’re unconsciously projecting and help them communicate their struggle.

Be a Mediator

While it’s always nice to be a source of comfort, sometimes providing good communication requires some less desirable action. Any HR rep worth their salt is going to be ready to step into the role of mediator whenever the need arises.

The less-than-savory task of leading employees through interpersonal conflict takes focus and skill. A good mediator will be willing to dig to the root of an issue and then provide strategies that are aimed at resolving the conflict and preventing further problems from arising in the future. If you find yourself faced with the task of being a mediator, it’s critical that you step up to the challenge with grace and wisdom in order to maintain the relationships at stake and restore healthy communication between the aggrieved parties.

Practice Active Listening

Finally, it’s always wise to both practice and promote active listening. If you want healthy interconnectivity to percolate throughout your workplace, you’re going to want to start with your own communication efforts.

Start by taking the time to actively listen to your company’s employees. Avoid passing judgment, be patient, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to summarize and clarify in order to make sure everyone has been heard. If you can demonstrate active listening on a regular basis, you’ll provide a benchmark of healthy communication for others around you to follow.

Achieving Proper Communication

Training, seminars, resources, mediation, active listening, and open-door policies are all essential ingredients for maintaining healthy communication in the workplace. However, the most important thing of all is for you to take the time to properly prioritize communication in the first place. If an HR rep focuses on keeping proper lines of communication open within a workplace, potentially negative scenarios can be identified and addressed quickly and appropriately, leading to a smooth, functioning office over the long term.

Wave Goodbye to the Pitfalls of Presenteeism

The US Department of Labor says that the average American takes eight days off every year, meaning workers gift thousands of dollars of unused vacation time to their employers annually. But why?

Part of the issue is presenteeism – which plagues corporate America and, at the last calculation, costs the country $150 billion a year. This estimate attributed lost productivity due to poor health conditions of employees who still came to work – but did not take into account other effects – such as how presenteeism can also affect company culture, worker retention, and talent attraction.

The basic definition of presenteeism is when an employee spends more time at work than is required – including if they are unwell. A report from NPR, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found over half of Americans go to work when they are sick.

Deadlines are feared, having too many actions to return to, and expectations that employees must put work before their own health. For many workers, presenteeism is engrained in company culture. And it’s a problem many industries are grappling with as they increase flexible working policies that improve work life balances.

Companies must take the necessary actions to combat this issue, with three steps to consider below:

Step one: Addressing the root causes

Organizations should first take steps to address the root causes of poor physical and mental health within their workforce by offering comprehensive benefits packages. To have the greatest impact, these should include wellbeing support through a holistic benefits package such as wellness initiatives/allowances, access to mental health resources, massage or acupuncture sessions, and nutritionist sessions that support employees’ physical and mental health.

Additionally, technology is essential for HR and benefits teams to counter presenteeism. As well as offering sophisticated analysis that enables HR to track the popularity (and, therefore, success) of any company initiatives over a period of time, benefits tech and wellness pots can make a more immediate and tangible impact by allowing employees to self-administer benefits to impact their day-to-day health and happiness. This opens up an endless list of options, for example this could include access to yoga classes, therapy sessions, or financial wellness training. This digital approach to benefits management not only also means employees can access their benefits whenever and wherever they want, but provides data back to employers on what benefits are being used (and therefore valued.)

Step two: Analyze company culture

Presenteeism is often a cultural issue entrenched in an organization by the behavior of the leadership team or company values that haven’t yet evolved. While most within a company will recognize change as necessary, direction and leadership must first come from management.

If workers see management and leadership teams taking time off when they’re sick or are in need of a rest, they’ll be far more likely to do the same. It sends a clear message that when somebody is ill, they too should take the time to recover and when work is done, it’s time to go home.

HR can also facilitate open discussions about the importance of wellbeing to help shift company culture by using listening exercises that demonstrate to the workforce the company cares. Furthermore, organizations can take polls and surveys to help address any gaps in company benefits packages that could enhance their employees’ wellbeing – there is no shortage of ways employers can try to make improvements in this area.

Step three: Tech is key

Technology has effectively allowed more employees to work from home or other remote locations. Remote work brings many benefits such as reduced stress by saving money and time on commuting. But with this comes a need for balance.

Employers must be clear to workers that when they are sick, they should not be sending emails or seen online. When they are ready and well enough to return to work, they will be recovered, rejuvenated, and more productive.

We have a lot of work to do to address and eliminate presenteeism. Companies need to start by looking at their culture and management structures to better understand how to lead by example. People should be made to feel comfortable to take time off when they’re physically or mentally unwell without fearing piles of work or judgement from their manager – or their colleagues. This means actually taking time off when rest is needed so they can recuperate, and not working remotely which should be actively discouraged by managers during sick leave.

5 Tips How to Recruit Generation Z in Your Small Business

While Millennials are slowly taking over the workforce, Generation Z members aren’t far behind. Although their age span is not yet firmly set, they range from the nineties to the present age (e.g. 1995 and 2015) so they are easing into the business world. 

This is the generation who was born into smartphones, gadgets, and the Internet, and they feel at home with technology which is precisely the reason why you need them amongst your ranks, to stimulate your business’s progress. 

However, the traditional strict working atmosphere will not be appealing to Gen Z so you would need to make some changes to your recruitment process and the working conditions. With that in mind, here are 5 tips to help you find the optimal ways to recruit Gen Z employees.

Leverage on their love for technology

Generation Z loves its technology: as soon as they open their eyes, the first thing they reach for is their smartphones because they want to check what’s new with the world, if any of their friends wrote to them or if there are any work-related news. While older generations might become anxious because of a new software tool you introduced, a Generation Z employee will be the first one to enthusiastically try it out.

This means that, in order to attract them, you need to stay updated regarding the newest technology trends. In this way, you will make sure you facilitate certain aspects of work by eliminating menial work for the most part and that you become attractive to this tech-savvy generation. 

Visit relevant networking events

Posting an ad online is not the only manner to recruit Generation Z employees since this social group isn’t a slave to old trends. For instance, going to certain events and mingling with the attendees might help you find the talent you are looking for.

Just as Millennials, Gen Z has tremendous social awareness and often attend going-green events as well as those for charitable causes. If your business philosophy coincides with these causes, all you need to do is to choose one of the designs for business cards online, get them printed and hand them out to individuals who you consider great candidates. In this manner, you would know that the person coming to the interview is already a desirable candidate which shortens the recruitment process.

Show you care about health and wellness 

Gen Z is all about keeping fit and eating healthy and don’t be surprised if you learn that some of them refuse to own a car because they want to help the environment and be more active. Since a lot of them are known to cycle to work, it is good to have a bike rack in the building so they can leave their bicycles without the fear of having them stolen.

Also, having fresh fruit brought in daily will not significantly burden your budget but it will significantly improve your reputation among your employees, Gen Z ones in particular. If you have the budget and space, you should consider assembling a small gym so that they can work out after work or during their break if it helps them clear their heads. 

Offer growth opportunities

One of the strongest character traits that Gen Z members share is the anxiety caused by the feeling they are stuck in a place where everything stagnates. While previous generations might have enjoyed indulging in their routines and everything always functioning the same, this kind of working environment is the worst possible one for Gen Z as it would resemble a prison.

If there is no space for progress, for moving up the ladder, and shaking things up with new ideas, strategies, and tools, don’t be surprised if Gen Z members decide that they better look for another employment. To attract them and retain them, you need to offer challenges and be ready to embrace innovativeness and you will soon see how much good it would do to your business.

Keep them informed and involved

While some members of the older generations prefer to do one thing at the time, Gen Z cannot function without multitasking. Typing a report, responding to a teammate’s text about a project, while considering what to eat for lunch – this is just how their quick minds work. So, long recruitment procedures where they go through many steps which are weeks apart with somber periods of silence from their prospective employers are not going to cut it for them.

They like to be kept in the loop since you never know if they have other options and you might end up losing a talented employee because you didn’t contact them for a few weeks between recruitment steps. Also, since they are big lovers of video as a format, you can also include them making a short presentation video about them and their work experience as a part of the process.

Wrapping up

Generation Z will take over the business world in a not so distant future, so it is wise to get a head start because it can also mean gaining a competitive advantage. Instead of being the one who joins the race once it already started, think proactively and start adapting your working conditions and atmosphere to the upcoming generations who will rule the business world.

How to Plan a Successful Networking Event

Building your company’s profile can be a challenge. The marketing department only has so much control, but the overall image of your business can impact how well you attract and retain top talent.

Fortunately, you can make a big splash without having to run a significant PR campaign. By planning and hosting a successful networking event, you can position your company as a leader in your community and your industry.

What makes networking so powerful? And how can you ensure that it will be successful? Here’s what you need to know.

The Power of Networking

You may be tempted to think that networking is best suited to a time when you, as an individual, are looking to break into a new field or a new position. The truth is that a strong network can give you a competitive edge at every stage in your career, and this includes every stage of a business. Keep this in mind as you plan your networking event. Help people get the most out of the experience by providing tips on how to network successfully.

You can emphasize the practice of soft skills such as eye contact, positive body language, and listening. Encourage attendees to ask targeted questions and show genuine interest in the people they meet. Most of all, be a valuable resource for those who attend and continue to keep in touch after the event is over. Your organization should be building long-term relationships, after all!

As you think about who to invite and who should speak, consider those who have a lot of awareness of your industry and its challenges. These could be people within your company, or you can invite speakers from other areas within the business. Be sure to include people with a variety of backgrounds, such as cultural, gender, educational levels, and more.

A successful networking event can help put your company on the map with potential customers, employees, and others in your community. People love to talk about the great events they’ve been to, so you gain exposure well beyond the attendees.

Make it Easy to Sign Up

The tech behind your enrollment and reminders can be one of the best assets you have for your event. Not only is it easy for attendees to use, but it will also hold a wealth of information about the people at your event that you can capitalize on later.

Of course, you need an idea of the headcount so you can plan your event accordingly, but don’t overlook the contact information you gather. These people are the potential employees, clients, and connections that your business needs to grow and move forward.

Once folks arrive, have them check in even if the event is free. This allows you to see how many people actually attended compared to who signed up. Create badges from the registration data that you can scan before speaker sessions. This will allow you to see what sessions were the most successful. You can then follow up and get feedback on the event and connect more closely with attendees. With excellent networking on your part during and after the event, you’re much more likely to win new clients and attract high-quality employees to your organization.

 

Choose a Great Location

If your building has an appropriate gathering space, you can hold the networking event at your own location. However, most of the time it’s better to choose an upscale venue that’s nearby, such as a hotel.

An upscale venue gives a sense of professionalism and special access to the event. This helps attendees feel important and facilitates a strong connection to your brand. You can also have a larger event due to the space available in hotels, and the accommodations offer a place to stay for guests who travel to attend.

Find out what options you have for low-cost or even free events at the hotel. For instance, if you hold it near the hotel bar, you may be able to get a lower price. Be sure to choose your date wisely – you don’t want to overlap an important local event or game that may cause the hotel to be less flexible with you.

Choose an Effective Format

How is your networking event going to operate? Unless everyone already knows each other well, simply tossing a bunch of people into a room isn’t likely to be effective.

Choose one or more high-quality speakers to anchor the event who can give tips and tricks about industry topics. This can be a big incentive to attend and gives people something to organize the evening around. For a more creative option, organize a group activity that encourages interaction and cooperation, such as a cooking class or local tour.

Before and after the structured activities, encourage people to chat and share information. You can set up an official format for this, like “speed networking” where people meet for two minutes and then swap, or you can let it happen more naturally.

To keep things moving, have some of your team work to engage those who inevitably hang back. Knowing how to encourage introverts to network can be very helpful.

Evaluate Your Success

Once you’ve held your event, it’s time to look at how things went and what you learned. Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly – it can be hard to know right away whether your event was successful. The time it takes to build relationships means that you won’t know immediately if you’ve successfully gained new clients or high-quality applicants from your event. It might be weeks or months before this particular effort bears fruit.

To measure your results, keep track of your follow-up with those who attended. Make a special effort to connect with ideal clients or high-quality job candidates. Take note of how many become new customers or employees over time.

You also need to learn from any you made and what you want to do differently next time. Be sure to record those insights with your coworkers, so that you or the next event team can remember those lessons and improve the next networking experience.

Build Your Business With Networking

Networking events go a long way to boost the profile of your company. This not only helps you attract and retain the best employees, but it can also lead to additional clients or customers as well. You will also gain respect from others in your industry.

This can make a big difference, not only for your company but for your own career. You’ll be building new relationships for yourself as well as for your business.

Are you ready to make a splash in your industry? If so, get started planning a networking event today. Everyone will benefit, and it will create a lot of buzz in your community.

How to Organize a Business Trip for Your Employees

For any prosperous small business, business trips are a necessary element which contributes to them growing and developing. Regardless of whether such trips are to the neighboring city or some other country, their significance demands that they would be thoroughly organized both in terms of business and travel arrangements. 

Making sure you and your employees arrive at their destination safely, that they have decent accommodation, optimal working conditions, as well as for them to know what to expect requires you to plan in advance which is not that complicated if you follow some guidelines. To help you organize your business trip so that both you and your employees are satisfied with the results, here is a short list of some things to keep in mind. 

Share traveling details

Although you are going on a business trip and not on a vacation with numerous activities, there will still be some itinerary that you need to share with your employees so that they know what to expect. Knowing the details about where and when they will be going during the business trip can help them organize not only regarding their tasks and presentations but for instance, regarding the choice of clothes so they don’t come casually dressed to dinner with clients. 

Also, it wouldn’t hurt to share with them some templates to help them organize – for instance, a checklist for important items such as cords, adapters, flash drives, devices etc. It would be useful to have certain documents printed and handed out, such as the itinerary, and you can also provide each employee with an envelope for travel receipts and other essential travel or business documents.

Research the most economical options

If you have complete freedom when it comes to arranging transportation and accommodation, it would be best to thoroughly research all possible options, especially if your team is traveling abroad. If the latter is the case, you need to get acquainted with the city and find the optimal accommodation solution in terms of the distances between the hotel and other places you will be visiting. 

When it comes to the means of transport, you can look into bus lines and airlines which offer discounts for a group of people traveling. Also, your choice of a credit card can be of importance in this case since different cards can offer different discounts and schemes for travel points. You can also opt for credit card free luggage promotions that can help you cut costs which is important since you are covering the expense of more people. Some credit card issuers throw in additional benefits such as a free suitcase or a night at a certain hotel. 

Be clear about your travel policy

Having in mind that you plan for the budget allocations to be the same for each employee, it is crucial they are clear on the transportation choice, the time of the travel, luggage requirements, and other details. It would be good to email them to all travelers in advance so that they have the time to read it properly, especially if it is a lengthy piece of writing.

In case that there are some remote employees or that your travel policy is flexible, your employees need to know the exact amount of money they have at their disposal so they can organize their transportation. If you already have some deals with a particular airline or bus line, you need to also mention that to your employees or to restrict their choice to those companies. Providing them with clear guidelines will help both you and your employees feel more comfortable and confident and that will increase the chances for the business trip to become a success. 

Include employee leisure time

If you wish for the employees to be motivated to give their best on this business trip, you need to provide them with some leisure time since you wouldn’t want the amount of work and stress to lead to burnout. A few working days on a business trip can be even more demanding than the same amount of days in the office, so it is good for them to get an opportunity to relax and to see a bit of the city they are in.

You can go about it in a number of ways and besides organizing and paying for them to attend some interesting event unrelated to business, you can also just give them some free time they can spend either exploring the city on their own or resting in their rooms. Another option is for them to stay a bit longer, so for instance, if the trip ends on Friday, they can stay a bit longer as long as they come to the office on Monday, rested and ready to work.

Conclusion 

To ensure a prosperous business trip, your employees need to be acquainted with the itinerary and their tasks because you cannot expect high productivity if they are left in the dark. This trip also needs to include some free time for them so they can recharge their batteries and increase efficiency. In addition to that, the more time you spend researching, the greater the chances of finding an economical transportation and accommodation solution so that you get optimal results without spending too much.

The Importance of a Good Coffee Machine in the Working Place

Having a good workplace goes beyond working in a clean and sterile environment. In today’s world, it’s simply not enough to have a stack of cubicles in a room and call it an office. The modern employer knows that the key to productivity and success is keeping their employee happy and treating them like human beings, not just closing them off from each other and expecting results.

This is the main reason modern offices have such elaborate designs and often look very quirky. You don’t need to be eccentric to make your employees happy, though. A few key components are enough to make them love going to work and look forward to each new day in the office. One of those components is the coffee machine.

Though it seems simple enough, a good coffee machine has the power to transform the entire office attitude and make your employees much brighter. Such a common piece of equipment will be the light in your workers’ days as it will give them an energy and motivation boost when they most need it.

1. It keeps things moving

Things at work seem to be running smoothly, and then everything just stops. People run into a problem they can’t solve only to spend the rest of the day trying to figure it out. The more they rack their brain, the further away the answer seems to be. When working on something complex and important, it’s very easy to get stuck in a rut and lose yourself in your own brain. The path to a solution seems doesn’t seem like it exists.

In some cases, it’s enough to get a fresh pair of eyes on the issue and find the solution together. What do you do in the cases where the whole office is exhausted and looking for the same way out as you? This is especially an issue when we’re talking about team projects. When the whole team is down, the whole project will be too.

Sometimes the project or assignment can be so complex that it takes days to figure it out. Though, most times it takes days just because people are reluctant to give up. They don’t realize that taking a rest would help them reach the solution, as they feel useless and unproductive when they’re not working towards a solution.

This is where the coffee machine comes in. It could very well be the thing that saves your team from countless unproductive hours in the office. Coffee has the power to reset our brains and make them start working again. When you’re too exhausted to think, you need something to do it for you. A fresh cup of coffee will be exactly what you need.

Making someone do a coffee run just feels like wasting more time, but the office coffee machine will provide what everyone needs in heartbeat. If you opt for the models which can serve more people at once, the whole team can have their favourite cup of coffee in front of them at the same time. They’ll be able to get straight back to work with a rewired brain and find a solution much more quickly.

2. It gives them something in common

Offices, especially big ones, are full of very different people. This is something very normal, as not all the same personalities will ever work in the same office. It’s also a good thing because it’s ground for more creativity and productivity. People solve problems more easily and they finish projects more quickly when they look at all the different perspectives of one issue. That’s only possible with a diverse and competent team.

Though that all may sound fine and dandy, it can create a very cold and professional office. No one will know how to connect to and talk to someone else when it seems like they’ve got nothing in common. Instead of a community, your office becomes just a place where people can’t wait to get out of.

This can also contribute to feelings of isolation and make individuals feel uncomfortable while at work. In the long run, all this does is put a damper on productivity and make employees miserable. To avoid such an outcome, you’ll need to give them something in common.

With all those different personalities present, it can be very hard figuring out what exactly they all have in common. That is, it’s very hard until you realize that our society basically runs on coffee. There are virtually no people who don’t drink coffee on a daily basis, meaning everyone will have something in common.

By adding a coffee machine, you’re giving people a conversation opener. The coffee machine chats will replace the old-timey water cooler chats and encourage communication and socialization in the workplace. The conversation may start by one employee asking another how they take their coffee, only to transform into something more meaningful and friendly. The coffee machine truly is the first step to making life-long friends.

3. It gives them an energy boost

Flickering levels of energy are always the biggest danger in the workplace. When someone is physically exhausted, it gets a lot harder to think and focus on work. Whether the employee didn’t have a good night’s sleep or they’re missing their afternoon nap- the effects are the same. To make your employees more alert, you need to give them an energy source.

Now, though the idea of nap quarters in the office sounds appealing, it’s very inconvenient and inconceivable. Thankfully, there’s another energy source you can provide for your employees: the coffee machine. 

Whether they use it on their lunch break, when they first get in, or anywhere in between, you’ll be sure it’s doing its job exceptionally well. Coffee is like a reset switch for the body. As soon as we drink coffee, we feel more refreshed and ready to get back to work.

We don’t feel physically tired anymore but are instead eager to get on with our days. The body is once again able to follow the ambitiousness of the brain and help us reach success. So, by pushing the body forward, it actually contributes to the increase in productivity employers are always after.

For some, the cup or two of coffee that they have in the office is enough to get them to the end of the day. That cup is the reason they make their deadlines and are able to go home not feeling exhausted. The coffee allows them to power through another hard day and come out a winner.

4. It gives them something to look forward to

Being stuck in the office all day isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of fun. Most people lose motivation in the middle of the day because they’re simply overwhelmed by the amount of work they need to do and have already done. The only thing they have to look forward to is their breaks at this point. When there’s nothing to do in the break room, the employee will sit mindlessly for their lunch over of five-minute break and sink into tiredness even more.

This isn’t a very nice way to relax your brain. You’ve been staring at the screen for the whole day and now you’re just wallowing in exhaustion. All you want at that moment is to rest your head either by watching something stupid on TV or going directly to bed. That’s the exact opposite attitude of what you want in the workplace and is a sure way of creating zombies.

To avoid this, you have to give your people something to look forward to. Having a coffee machine changes the game entirely. This gives your employees something nice to look forward to on their breaks. It’s crucial to have a coffee machine which can support the needs of your staff, though. You want to provide good service for each member of the team and keep them all on their toes throughout the day.

That’s why it’s not a bad idea to look at high-shelf firms for quality espresso coffee machine, as these firms offer exactly what you need- good service and fine-tasting coffee with a press of a button. A healthy break for your employee suddenly isn’t so far away. They get to take 10 minutes to just collect their thoughts and get their brain running again. Zombie apocalypse- successfully avoided!

5. It spices up the break room

The design of the break room can always use an update. Let’s face it, most break rooms aren’t very pretty or nice. They’re packed with seating furniture or only have one table and a few chairs. The kitchen equipment is mediocre at best, and the fridge always makes that weird sound. This isn’t really an environment you want to spend all of your breaks in.

You don’t have to change the entire design and spend a lot of dough on a makeover, though. Start adding new things to spice up the place one by one. The first item on the agenda will be the coffee machine.

Professional coffee machines for offices are usually designed in such a way that they don’t take up a lot of counter space, making them perfect for every break room. As well as that, they usually have an interesting and colourful design that can light up the whole area.

Your break room suddenly won’t seem so drab and boring when it’s got one hell of a coffee machine as its centrepiece.

Conclusion

The human race takes a lot of things for granted and the coffee machine is one of them. Coffee is the centre of our culture, regardless of where you come from. It’s an excuse to see the people you love or ask someone out, an opportunity to meet new people, and a way to remind yourself that you’re not alone in this world.

On a more personal level, coffee wakes up all our senses, makes us more awake, and gives us the confidence and motivation to tackle every challenge laid in front of us. Once you put in the coffee machine, you won’t be able to recognize your staff. It really will be the thing to tie the whole place together and give it meaning.

Workplace Injury: How to Be Prepared

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Your boss asks you to help move a few boxes. Before you even think about it, you bend over at the waist to pick up the load and feel a severe stabbing pain in your back that takes your breath away. You slowly stand up straight, but all you see are stars circling your head like in the cartoons. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-often occurrence in many offices across the country, and it can affect the work performance of any employee. You might not even realize that this is a workplace injury and you have the right to healthcare and possibly compensation if this would ever happen to you. 

 

Many people think that workplace injuries only happen at construction sites or in factories. However, many of the most common workplace injuries, such as sprains, strains, and lacerations can happen just about anywhere. Here are the essentials you need to know to keep yourself and your workplace safe. 

Understanding Workplace Injuries

According to the National Safety Council, one person is injured on the job every seven seconds in the U.S. That means that throughout one year, there are 4.5 million injuries. These injuries range from “treat and street” issues where you might be seen in a clinic or emergency room and then sent home to severe life-altering injuries and illnesses or even death. 

 

Injuries that occur the most frequently don’t cause severe damage; in fact, many of them don’t even cause visible problems. The top three workplace injuries that cause workers to miss days from work are those that include overexertion, such as lifting a box that’s too heavy, contact with an object or equipment, and slips, trips, and falls. Other common occurrences that can take you out of commission include poor body mechanics and environmental hazards such as wet floors or icy sidewalks.

Prevention is Key

While you don’t have to be an occupational health and safety specialist to spot an unsafe situation, working with one to create safety plans is never a bad idea. Since the top injuries are common occurrences, most of them can be prevented by following a few simple safety tips. Check out these three ways to keep yourself and coworkers safe at work:

Be Aware

Seeing and reporting trip hazards like cords across a walkway or a spill in the cafeteria doesn’t take any particular skill. If you notice anything in your office that might be a safety issue, fix it if you can. If it’s a more significant issue, such as clutter blocking a fire exit or an overflowing toilet, be sure to report it to your supervisor or internal safety committee, if you have one. 

Protect Your Back

Back injuries are common, and once you have an injury, your risk of re-injury increases three to five times. The good news about back injuries is that most of them are preventable. Use these lifting and back injury tips if you need to lift a box or other heavy object around the office:

 

  • Stretch before lifting heavy objects.
  • Make sure you’re wearing safe, closed-toe shoes with good traction when lifting.
  • Use a dolly or pushcart if carrying the object a long distance.
  • Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Divide large loads into smaller ones, if possible.
  • Carry the object as close to your body as you can. 

Reduce Workplace Stress

Let’s face it: work is stressful. When you start feeling burned out at work, you might struggle to concentrate or rush through tasks, both of which can increase your risk of injuries. 

 

If you need to decrease your stress levels at work, try at least one of these four strategies:

  • Choose healthy foods so that you get the nutrition you need. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants, like nicotine.
  • Aim for eight hours of sleep every night.
  • Plan regular breaks throughout the workday and try to get the most important tasks done before lunch.
  • Live a happy life by adopting a few holistic ways to live, such as regular trips to the chiropractor or massage therapist and aromatherapy.

What to Do if You Get Hurt

Even if you do all of the right things to create balance in a world full of movement — sometimes accidents just happen. If you’re injured at work, you should always report the accident immediately. What might feel like a minor ache or pain today could make it difficult to get out of bed tomorrow. Many states only allow injuries to be reported within a specific time frame for you to receive workers’ compensation benefits from your employer. This is why notifying your supervisor promptly is critical.

 

You might live in a state that requires accident reports be in writing. While some states allow reports to be verbal, it’s always best to write out what happened and turn it into your supervisor. Almost all employers are required by law to have workers compensation insurance. If your injury is significant and you have to miss work, be sure to talk to your employer about their worker’s compensation policy and seek legal counsel if they tell you that they don’t have one. 

 

If you’re hurt at work, any medical treatment you need should be covered by your employer’s policy. You might also be entitled to lost wages if you have to miss work for an extended period. However, every state is a bit different, so you’ll need to check with your employer to be certain. To make sure that you’re always covered regardless of the causes of an injury or illness, it’s a good idea to consider long-term or short-term disability insurance, too. 

Keeping Safe

Being hurt is never fun. However, by implementing these simple workplace safety tips and tricks in your office, you and your co-workers will be safe and prepared. And in the unfortunate event that you are injured at work, know that you have options to ensure that the company you work will cover you.